Process of Elections




  • Electoral Constituencies: The country is divided into different areas for purposes of elections. These areas are called electoral constituencies.   
  • Member of Parliament: The representative elected from each constituency is called a Member of Parliament or an MP. 
  • Code of Conduct: A set of norms and guidelines to be followed by political parties and contesting candidates during election time.


Process of Elections:

1. Reserved Constituencies:

  • The framers of the Constitution were concerned that in an open electoral competition, certain weaker sections would not have a good chance of being elected to the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies. If this occurs, our Parliament and Assemblies will be devoid of the voice of a sizable portion of our population. As a result, our democracy would be less representative and democratic.
  • As a result, the framers of our Constitution devised a special system of reserved constituencies for the weaker sections of society. Some constituencies are reserved for people from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). Only people from the Scheduled Castes can run for office in an SC-reserved constituency.
  • Similarly, one-third of the seats in rural and urban local bodies are reserved for women candidates.

2. Voters' list: 

  • Once the constituencies are decided, the next step is to decide who can and who cannot vote. This decision cannot be left to anyone till the last day. In a democratic election, the list of those who are eligible to vote is prepared much before the election and given to everyone. This list is officially called the Electoral Roll and is commonly known as the Voters' List.
  • No one should be denied the right to vote unless there is a compelling reason. Different citizens differ in many ways: some are rich, while others are poor; some are highly educated, while others are less educated or not educated at all; some are kind, while others are not. But they are all human beings with their own needs and perspectives. That is why they all deserve an equal say in decisions that affect them.  
  • In our country, all citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote in elections. Every citizen, regardless of caste, religion, or gender, has the right to vote. It is the government's responsibility to get the names of all eligible voters on the voters' list. Names are added to the voters' list as new people reach voting age. Every five years, the list is completely updated.
  • In recent years, a new system of Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) has been introduced. The government attempted to issue this card to everyone on the voter list. 

3. Nomination of Candidates

  • People should have a genuine choice in a democratic election. This occurs only when there are almost no restrictions on who can enter an election. This is exactly what our system offers. Anyone who is eligible to vote can also compete for office. The only difference is that a candidate must be 25 years old to be in office, whereas a voter must be 18 years old. Other restrictions on criminals, for example, apply only in extreme cases. 
  • Everyone who wants to contest an election must fill out a 'nomination form' and pay a 'security deposit'. On the Supreme Court's direction, a new declaration system was recently implemented. Every candidate must sign a legal declaration outlining the following information:  
    (i) Serious criminal cases pending against the candidate;
    Details of the candidate's assets and liabilities; and  
    (iii) educational qualifications of the candidate. 

This data must be made public. This allows voters to base their decisions on the information provided by the candidates. 

4. Election Campaign

  • In our country, election campaigns last two weeks between the announcement of the final candidate list and the date of voting. During this time, candidates contact voters, political leaders speak at election meetings, and political parties mobilize their supporters.
  • This is also the time when election-related stories and debates dominate the newspapers and television news. However, the election campaign is not limited to these two weeks. Political parties begin planning for elections months before they take place.
  • Political parties try to focus public attention on some major issues during election campaigns. They want to draw the public's attention to that issue and persuade them to vote for their party on that basis. The following are some popular slogans used by various political parties:
    (i) Garibi Hatao (Remove poverty) by the Congress party led by Indira Gandhi.
    (ii) Save Democracy by Janata Party under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan.
    (iii) Land to the Tiller by the Left Front.
    (iv) 'Protect the Self-Respect of the Telugus' was the slogan used by N.T. Rama Rao, the leader of the Telugu Desam Party.

5. Polling and Counting of Votes 

  • The day on which voters cast or 'poll' their vote. That day is commonly referred to as election day.
  • Anyone whose name is on the voter list can go to a nearby 'polling booth,' which is usually located in a local school or government office. When a voter enters the voting booth, election officials identify the voter, place a mark on the voter's finger, and allow her/him to vote.
  • Previously, ballot paper and boxes were used to record votes, but now Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) is used. The machine displays the names of the candidates as well as party symbols. Independent candidates have their own symbols, which are assigned by the election commission. All the voter has to do is press the button next to the name of the candidate for whom she wishes to vote.

6. Declaration of Results

  • After the polling is completed, all EVMs are sealed and transported to a secure location. A few days later, on a predetermined date, all EVMs in a constituency are opened and the votes cast for each candidate are counted. All candidates' agents are present to ensure that the counting is done correctly. The candidate who receives the most votes from a constituency is declared elected.
  • During a general election, all constituencies' votes are usually counted at the same time and on the same day.

7. Code of Conduct Model

  • According to our election law, no party or candidate can: 
    (i) Bribe or threaten voters; 
    (ii) Appeal to them in the name of caste or religion;
    (iii) Use government resources for election campaigns; and 
    (iv) Spend more than Rupees 25 lakh in a constituency for a Lok Sabha election or Rupees 10 lakh in a constituency in an Assembly election. 
  • If they do so, the court may nullify their election even after they have been declared elected. In addition to the laws, all of our country's political parties have agreed to a Model Code of Conduct for election campaigns. According to this, no party or candidate can: 
    (i) Use any place of worship for election propaganda;
    (ii) Use government vehicles, aircraft, and officials for elections; and 
    (iii) Once elections are announced, Ministers shall not lay the foundation stones of any projects, take any big policy decisions or make any promises of providing public facilities.


Do you know? 

Journey from ballot boxes to EVM machines

In 1951-52, independent India held its first election. This was the beginning of the formation of democracy through electoral politics. During the first elections, ballot boxes were used for voting. The first EVM machines were used in the 1990s. Many things could be accomplished with the help of a voting machine. If voters do not want to vote for any candidate, they can select 'None of the above' - (NOTA). It is now easy for disabled individuals (Divyanga) to vote. It helps to safeguard the environment by reducing the number of trees cut down for paper. It has also been possible to have election results declared early.

On October 8, 2010, the Election Commission formed an expert group. It was agreed to include a new feature in EVM machines: Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail. This was approved by all major parties. Voters can utilize this feature to check whether their vote was successfully registered. The purpose of this critical step is to prevent election fraud. 

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